Improved rice method for determining theoretical maximum density of asphalt paving mixtures
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Improved rice method for determining theoretical maximum density of asphalt paving mixtures

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      Rice method (ASTM D2041 ) is used for determining the theoretical maximum specific gravity of asphalt paving mixtures which is one of the main test parameters used for mix design and construction quality control. The repeatability and reproducibility of the Rice method is not considered satisfactory especially when highly absorptive aggregates are used in the mixture. Such aggregates can absorb water during the vacuuming phase of the Rice method. This necessitates the use of a supplementary (dry-back) procedure which is even more prone to

      testing errors. There is a need to improve the Rice method to avoid the aforementioned problems. Two dense graded asphalt paving mixtures (representing low and high absorption aggregates) and one AC-20 asphalt cement were used in this study. Three factors (temperature,

      residual pressure, and vacuuming time) affecting the results from the Rice method were investigated at three levels each, involving some 108 tests. Based on the test data, optimum levels have been recommended for temperature (770 F), residual pressure (30 mm `Hg), and vacuuming time (15 minutes). Use of these optimum levels by all laboratories is expected to improve the reproducibility of the Rice method, especially when highly absorptive aggregates are used in the asphalt paving mixtures. The improved Rice method is also likely to minimize the necessity of using the supplementary (dry-back) procedure. (22 p.)

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